Modern homes offer a level of comfort and convenience, which is superior to anything we might have enjoyed in the past. Still, a lot of homeowners are increasingly feeling the pinch of energy consumption required to maintain that standard. Being more efficient in energy usage around the home will not only reduce costs but help save the environment as well. These steps will help you lower your energy consumption in the long term.
Improve your home’s passive efficiency.
If you’d like to make a significant improvement in your energy consumption, tackling the biggest item on the menu should be a top priority. According to the Energy Information Administration, the average US household uses over half of its annual energy consumption for heating and cooling. That’s a potentially huge opportunity when you consider that such needs may vary greatly depending on your location and the season. Passive efficiency improvements will work wonders here.
Simply ensuring that existing systems such as ventilation and air conditioning are regularly maintained, or that the house is properly sealed and insulated to prevent unwanted transfer of heat in and out of the home, will maximize your use of energy. Making a few changes to the layout or undertaking a major renovation will also allow you to take advantage of some elements of passive solar design to block heat in the summer and absorb more sunlight in the winter.
Make smart upgrades around the home.
Today’s consumers are increasingly on the lookout for more environment-friendly options in the products they purchase, and manufacturers generally respond with improved designs. From light bulbs to washing machines and refrigerators, nearly every household appliance these days will have an energy-efficient version on the market.
However, in the beginning, you probably don’t need to make upgrades all around. A smart power strip, for example, can be one of the best items you can purchase to reduce long-term energy consumption. It works by eliminating the “phantom loads” created by appliances, chargers, and other electronic devices that are left continuously plugged into a wall (even when switched off or on standby). For the rest of your appliances, check their energy ratings versus those of more efficient options available. If the difference is significant, or the impact is high (water heaters, for instance), upgrading now can be a major improvement.
Adjust energy consumption habits.
At many places of work these days, you may spot signs reminding employees to shut down their workstations and turn off the lights when not in use. In our homes, we’re more accustomed to convenience and doing as we please. Observing mindful power consumption may be a challenge, but it’s worth the adjustment to acquire the habit of energy saving.
Finding it tough to keep track of what’s in use and what isn’t? Tools such as a programmable thermostat are available, allowing you to control the behavior of appliances without devoting mental energy to the task. Taking things even further, hooking up your appliances to a smart home network will give you more control through automation, preventing scenarios in which you leave appliances running while you’re out of the home.
Lowering your household energy consumption is a complex challenge. There may be no single solution, but using these steps will yield steady improvements year after year.